Dramaquill's All Things Writing

January 6, 2009

FINAL REVISIONS – When is enough, enough?

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I submitted my final chapters of my adult suspense novel to my online critique group on Monday and am now waiting for the critiques to come in.  I’m excited about the entire process because it pushes me one step closer to my finished, polished, manuscript.

What I submitted to them was my fifth revision.  I truly believe that my manuscript has grown and my writer’s voice has become stronger with each re-write.  I’ve especially noticed a difference in my characters, implementing “showing” instead of “telling” and in my ability to write POV.

We’ve all read comments from agents and editors regarding bad writing.  If we truly want a shot at getting our book published, we know that we have to submit our very best work. 

But at some point, the time must come when we set down our critical eye and stop revising and re-writing and start querying.  I believe I’m now at that point.

I do believe that some amateur writers  sub out manuscripts that are not ready.  I can’t say enough how important it is to get feedback from others (and this doesn’t mean your friends and your family).  Join a critique group!

But I also know that it would be quite easy to continue to revise, re-write and tweak this manuscript forever and never consider it finished.

As writers, what we sub out should always be our best work.  But when is enough, enough?

When you’re positive this is your best work.  You’ve checked and double checked for typos, grammar, puctuation and proper formatting.  You’ve read and re-read the submission guidelines for your target agents and/or publishers.  You feel pumped about sending out this project that has consumed you for so long.

So I’m going out today to stock up on ink for my printer and packages of paper.  I will print out this final draft and begin the task of reading it backwards, to find any mistakes I may have missed.  I will give it to my critique partner for one last look.  I will begin drafting my query letter, which I will also sub to my critique group.

And finally, I will search through the agents and publishers I’ve been collecting throughout this entire project and begin with my first round of queries.

How are you doing with your revisions?  Do you know when enough is enough?

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6 Comments »

  1. I’m not sure I know when enough is enough :\ I’ve been with some crit groups that seemed to have helped (I think they’re just to slow for my taste, but I shouldn’t complain.) I’m looking into some straight novel swaps that’ll be faster and get the whole novel read.

    Comment by magicalbookworm — January 6, 2009 @ 4:02 PM | Reply

  2. You’re right – a novel book swap is amazing. I did that with a critique partner last summer and we both were able to finish signifigant revisions that way.

    Comment by dramaquill — January 9, 2009 @ 11:17 AM | Reply

  3. That is a great question. As I am exploring the field of writing, I am trying to find that balance. I have written anything lengthy. I do find that when writing my blog, everytime I look at it, I see something I wish I had said a different way. I think that there is a point where there is overkill, but I think that’s better than producing less than stellar work.

    Comment by cmgamble — January 30, 2009 @ 10:29 AM | Reply

  4. It is difficult to decide when your inner critic or inner editor has to let go. I like hearing that you’d rather edit a lot than produce sub standard work. Now, to find a balance LOL

    Comment by dramaquill — January 30, 2009 @ 1:02 PM | Reply

  5. I was guilty of editing and editing and editing. In retrospect, the best thing to do was edit the book until satisfied. I believe that you know when it’s right. **Then leave it. Go back to it in about a month or so and re-read it in its entirety without editing – just making marks in the margin. After time has lapsed you have a much more objective view of the story and the writing itself. Make minor revisions and curb the desire to edit yet again (I speak from experience!!!!). Now that my novel is actually in book form and I have read the story “as a book” the story and writing take on a much different feel. It’s surprising how much different writing appears when it’s in published format. …Just one opinion!

    Comment by Rosalind — February 6, 2009 @ 8:51 AM | Reply

  6. It’s so true that you need to leave the manuscript for a while (at least a month) before going back to edit.

    I paid a published author in my genre to read my book and critique it and boy am I glad I did. She pointed out all the places that needed to change to make it more saleable.

    I know that contacting traditional publishers means lots of competition so her advice will pay for itself when I get an acceptance.

    Comment by dramaquill — February 7, 2009 @ 4:30 PM | Reply


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